From Strangers to Friends

Cameron’s first birthday session was a big hit. It is something very different. Instead of smashing a cake, he smashed spaghetti.

Chef’s guide to perfect spaghetti recipe.
1. Make sure veggies are fresh and taste delicious. (They are from the photographer’s own garden, picked one hour prior to session!)
2. Stir well during cooking
3. Check tenderness
4. Enjoy!

Cameron’s Mom Lizzy and I have become friends through all these portrait sessions. This is the 3rd time they came to me for pictures. I feel so grateful that she always opens up to my ideas and willing to try new things with me.

They were the winner of my session donation in support of East Brunswick Youth Council on 2016 East Brunswick Day. Lizzy had always wanted to have professional pictures taken of her family and the children, but it just never happened. Coming across the donation I made at the silent auction made her think that this would be the best time to try to win something! And She did. “A fantastic photographer who is creative and listens to input and produces beautiful pictures!”, said Lizzy.

Portrait was done on location in their house.
Ron, the dad, football and sports nut who is also into memorabilia and collectibles.
Liz, the mom, loves craft stuff and shopping!! “lol and spending time with the kids.”, according to Lizzy herself.
The couple love taking the kids on outings… Central park, the beach, zoos, etc.
Arianna, now the 14 year old, artistic and funny. Great at drawing cartoon and animation as well as more classical pieces. To visit blog on Arianna’s Bat Mitzvah, click here.
Bryce, the 3 year old, silly kid that loves to make people laugh. “He is our little superhero.”


Cameron, now the 1 year old, “our little butterball of happiness”. He has figured out how to get around, but he really loves his pacifier and his mommy. He celebrated his first Hanukkah last holiday season.

“I love how well Karen interact with the kids and family, its not a simple task to get so many people to focus and smile and get a great picture! I also love that she let me help get involved and pose and make suggestions during our session”, said Lizzy.


For Cameron’s first birthday session, we came up with the spaghetti smash idea. Lizzy had purchased a large pot for Cameron to fit into and I provided the fresh veggies from my own garden and chef’s hat that we used for the props. The other props Lizzy rummaged through her drawers for the rolling pin and spoons.

Safety tip: always put heavy weight at the bottom of props like pot, bucket, etc for babies to prevent accidental flipping. A 10 lb weight plate from any sporting good store would do just fine.
Lizzy was worried that Cameron would not co-operate at all for the pictures and the entire session would be wasted, but he did great!


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“Have fun with the entire experience, and don’t expect your 1 year old to do what you want them to do :)”, shared Lizzy. She loves this picture because it captured a real moment of a 1 year old.
2017 Silient Auction Ad
From MuSen: I am donating again at this year’s East Brunswick Day to support EBYC. Visit the FB event page for more details.

To learn more about the Sequoia package, click here.

To learn more about the First Birthday pacakge, click here.


Alice Wonderland Themed Wedding

How should I describe Stephanie? Organized, communicative, caring, creative, and always putting the family her absolute priority. Let us focus on creativity for a moment: I arrived at the venue early on the reception day to document the setup process. I was blown away by her amazing Alice Wonderland themes. She designed, shopped, and set up all the centerpieces by herself. Wow and Wow! I even joked to her and said she should consider becoming a wedding planner/theme designer so we can partner together and rock the wedding business.

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Stephanie got her flowers from Costco and ShopRite. All centerpieces and flower arrangements were done by Stephanie.

Tim Burton is the true inspiration for the whole theme. Stephanie loves how his mind thinks and sees the world so when she thought wedding she figured. Alice and Wonderland is still an elegant theme for them (Stephanie and Phil). Then everything started to come to her. Pinterest was a little help but once Stephanie thought of an idea she just ran with it. Organizing it was fun, according to Stephanie. She went thrift shopping, Goodwill stores and just going on a hunt for different tea pots,tea cups, books, etc. It was an amazing adventure. “You never truly knew if you would find what you were looking for or just not get anything at all. But it was trying to find the hidden treasure that made it so much fun!”, said Stephanie.

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Stephanie was pretty much all over Monmouth NJ to find everything she was looking for. The Christmas Tree Shops, Big Lots, HomeGoods and thrift stores helped with the decor. Also Amazon was her best friend too.
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Guests check-in Table
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Bride and Groom’s Table

The wedding dress is from David’s Bridal and it got pockets! A fun fact to share: if anyone knows Stephanie, her Moto is if the dress has pockets it’s hers. She never know what to do with her hands it’s an awkward thing for her. So she loves pockets because then she doesn’t have to worry about feeling uncomfortable about where to put her hands. Her friends think it’s hysterical. During the wedding, whenever Stephanie puts her hands inside the dress pockets her friends tease her about it and they will have a good laugh together. I noticed that and just had to find out from Stephanie what it was all about.

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Meet the Bride Stephanie
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Meet the Groom Phil

The reception was held at the Cranbury Inn. Stephanie and Phil chose it because of its rustic and vintage feel. The couple had an awesome experience there. The food was delicious and Tom the owner is very knowledgeable and attentive. They would go back again in a heart beat and have a party there again.

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The loft layout inside the Cranbury Inn is so special. The guests watched the couple’s ceremony from upstairs. The newly wed greeted all guests one by one as the guests walked down the stairs.


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Portrait taken near Cranbury Memorial Park

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The Brainerd Dam

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Brett Dash was their DJ and is fabulous to work with, “Easy going and a great guy”. Kara Lynne From Élan Hair Studio in Seagirt NJ did Stephanie’s makeup. “She is the best! Any type of makeup to wedding, party, Halloween, etc. she is your girl. True talent and I’m so happy with her beautiful work. She is also my colorist.” Ashley Evan from Élan Hair Studio in Seagirt NJ did Stephanie’s hair. “If you need a blowout and/or up styling she is your girl. She can make anything work and make your dreams come true. Any special event I have to go to I go to this beauty!”

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The First Dance
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On the bracelet that Stephanie wearing is the coordinates of Elkmont Campgrounds in the Smokey Mountains in Tennessee. It’s where Phil proposed to Stephanie. The bracelet is from Phil also got Stephanie another bracelet with the coordinates where they first met.
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The mother of one of Stephanie’s good friends from work home-made this wedding cake. It was made out of pure love and hard work. Stephanie gave her the idea and she created it for her without question and the couple couldn’t have been any happier with the results.

The thing that scared, made her anxious and nervous the most, according to Stephanie, was “will I be able to set everything up in time, will what my imagination wants for the theme of the wedding going to execute properly, and did I just go over board and of course put too much on my plate”. Otherwise with getting married Stephanie never had a doubt in her mind and either did Phil so that was the easiest part.

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Tips from the bride:

“I am organized chaos, but my best friend Kiki helps me organize it with lists, to-dos and important things that need to get done. As for getting organized for the photographer everyone should have a list of what pictures they want. There are so many regrets on people forgetting to get that one picture. So you as a couple should sit down and make a list of pictures you would like from your wedding so you have no regrets when you get the proofs back. No picture is a stupid picture. Its a memory you can have forever.” (Yes Stephanie, you won’t understand how much that has helped me, by providing me a guests picture list. It really saved my life as a photographer on the wedding day.)

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“Our experience was awesome. The only thing is we wish we ate more because the food was so delicious. Advice is just enjoy your day, it goes by quick. If you can get your pictures done earlier do it so you can enjoy every moment. And make sure you eat because you are paying for it and we know us brides starved ourselves to get into a dress so make sure you have that delicious meal”

Here is my session gift for the bride. I chose a heart shape rose gold color living locket because the rose gold color reminds me of Stephanie’s wedding gown and Cranbury Inn’s color theme. To accent, I also added vintage rose stardust Swarovski crystals. You And Me Puzzle Piece charm represents the union of Stephanie and Phil. Silver Wedding Ring charm is to remind Stephanie this is a wedding gift. I also include a Family Branch charm because I love the way Stephanie care about her family!! Silver Playing Cards charm reminds me of the Alice Wonderland theme and Stephanie’s amazing centerpieces designs. And the Camera charm is to remind Stephanie this gift is from me. The living locket will be displayed on the Living Locket Photo Frame along with one of their favorite picture from that day.

Stephanie and Phil did their engagement session with me back in February at the historical Batsto Village. To view the blog on their engagement session, click here.

Interested in finding out what the couple say about MuSen? Read their testimonial here.